Baltimore County Councilman Tom Quirk said Friday that the burning of a Catonsville speed camera on South Rolling Road Friday morning was unfortunate.
"I really wish we didn't need speed cameras," he told Patch Friday afternoon, adding that speeding in Southwest Baltimore County is the biggest issue his office hears complaints about.
"Speeding along Interstate 695 is different than speeding in a community like South Rolling Road. People are sick and tired of people speeding in their communities," he said.
Quirk, along with other Catonsville residents, shared their thoughts on what police say was an act by vandals who set the county speed camera on fire about 1:40 a.m. Friday. The camera was located on a cement pad that was installed just the week before at the intersection of Brook Road and Gary Drive.
Police are still searching for suspects and said the fire caused $13,000 in damages.
While cameras have been vandalized in the county before, this is the first time a camera has been set on fire in Baltimore County.
Marty Haggerty, who lives on South Rolling Road across the street from the camera, watched as firefighters extinguished the camera, which he said was in flames.
"It was frightening," he said. "My kids were crying."
Haggerty, who worked along with many neighbors along that stretch of road to have the camera added, said he was angered by the act of vandalism.
"If you're opposed to the speed camera, you don't do an act of terrorism," he said.
Some Patch readers said they weren't surprised by what happened.
M. Sullivan wrote: "Speed cameras are nothing more than government tyranny. I applaud anyone who has the stones to destroy one."
Readers said that cameras are meant to be revenue generators, which is unfair to taxpayers.
Wrote Daffy Duck: "You really think the government cares about the safety of your kids? The bottom line is, when you install a speed camera, it generates XXX,000 dollars per year. It's the money that drives these decisions, not your children's safety."
KQ Bankert wrote however, that cameras are there for public safety.
"SLOW DOWN and you won't be have to worry about giving extra money to the local government or a 3rd party...drive as if your kids live on the street and as if your kids were in the car with you."
Quirk said that while he hears complaints that the cameras are meant to be revenue generators, he is confident that a majority of people in the district support the mission of speed cameras.
"The best way for people to not have to worry about speed cameras is for people to obey the law," he said.